Our Practical guide to presentations site provides in-depth help, advice, and exercises, for designing and delivering presentations using PowerPoint and Google Slides:
Footers, Headers, Layouts, Page numbers, Slide Master
Font choice, Font size, Paragraph attributes, Reading order, Selection pane, Shape effects, Shape fill, Shape outline, Shapes, Text attributes, Text boxes, Text margins, Text positioning, WordArt
Gradient fill, Picture or texture fill, Solid fill
Artistic effects, Compression, Cropping, Inserting, Picture effects, Repositioning, Resizing, Resolution, Transparency
Copyright, Creative Commons
Diagram tool, Drawing tools, File types, Importing, SmartArt
Animation pane, Basic animation, Effects options, Morph transition, Re-ordering, Start conditions
Inserting, Live captions, Playing, Screen recording, Slide narration, Subtitles
Audience Q&A, Custom shows, Export options, Keyboard shortcuts, Live captions, Presenter view
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There are lots of ways by which you can present information to an audience, and not all of them involve projecting text and images from a software application. It's a common approach, though, and here are the main applications people tend to use:
Much used (not always well), PowerPoint has some great features and can be used for a lot more than bullet-point lists. You can even use it to make posters!
Slides has many of the features of PowerPoint. It lends itself to online collaboration, and there's a Q&A tool that can be used to add an element of interactivity to your presentation.
Prezi has been widely used as an alternative to PowerPoint. It's great if there's a non-linear structure or map behind what you're talking about. But be careful not to make your audience sick with the transitions you use.
If you're writing an academic presentation, it's important to bear in mind that there probably won't be time to include everything there is to say on a topic. You'll need to prioritise what are your key messages:
Be sure to include all of the musts, as many of the goods that you can, and, if there's room, some nice!
Ask yourself: Who is your message aimed at?
Is it adults? Children? Academics? The public? Your answer may inform the content and the style, and will probably determine how much you have to explain to your audience.
Think about the sources you've seen being used in other peoples' presentations: lecturers... conference speakers...
Often you'll need to use facts, figures, statistics and definitions... Focus your searching on the key messages you want to cover.
You'll have limited space to quote material, so only select the most authoritative sources...
PowerPoint and Google Slides include many under-exploited features that can help the creation of more effective presentations and other resources. Here we explore the principles of designing presentations, and how to convey your material to an audience.
If you're using slides to present, you need to think about what goes on the screen, and how it looks. The aesthetics of a slide deck are a personal thing, and fashions and orthodoxies inevitably change. But there are certain principles of presentation to consider:
How you present can be almost as personal as how you design, but there are some things worth considering: